Thursday, July 28, 2011

April 16, 2007

We can all recall the massacre that occurred on April 16th at the Virgina Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. For anyone who doesn't know the details Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at the college, opened fire at the campus and left 32 people dead and another 25 injured. Jamal Albarghouti, a graduate student, was able to capture the shooting on his cell phone while he was hiding for safety. I can distinctly remember watching the news, which was continuously showing us the cell phone video, and thinking how real and horrifying the video felt since it wasn't shot professionally. There would be no footage of the actual shootings if he had not pulled out his cell phone and taken this footage.

The entire massacre is an excellent example of citizen journalism because afterward students blogged about what had happened that day. Here is the blog of one student that gives us some insight on what it was like to actually be a student there, on that day.

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In the past people would turn to professional news sources (TV programs, radio broadcast, newspapers etc.) to find out what the latest breaking news was, much of that has changed with the internet. In today's world we no longer need to solely rely on professional journalists for information on an event happening halfway around the world. We can now read the latest twitter status of someone witnessing a protest in the middle east, watch a youtube clip of the earthquake in Japan or "like" a facebook page of a local neighborhood to find out about local events. Citizen journalism allows citizens to tell or show their side of a story, or share a story that the media can not cover or chooses not to cover.

When a US airways plane landed in the Hudson everyone was shocked and surprised. The incident began to be known as "the miracle on the Hudson". One would think that the NY Times, The Daily News, CNN or Fox News would be the first to report the incident and release the first picture or video. This however was not the case, a man named Janis Krums uploaded the first picture of the plane via Twitter. Imagine how an avid twitter user in a different country must of reacted when he/she saw this twitter post before it was even in the news. Not only can citizen journalism inform people from all over the world about an event the second it happens, but it also allows people to see through a local's eyes and experience news unedited and without political influence.

The Cell Phone Video of Saddam Hussein's Execution: An Example of Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism is news distributed, not by the pros, but by any (usually) unaffiliated citizen with a mobile phone and/or internet connection.1 In addition to this definition, citizen journalism is many things: a way to bypass censorship, a way to publicize the views and opinions of people who may not otherwise have a say, a way for the public to participate in the distribution of the news they and their fellow citizens will consume, etc.
On December 30, 2006 Saddam Hussein was executed, hanged by the Iraqi Special Tribunal for his crimes against humanity. The Iraqi government actually released an official video of the execution, respectfully excluding the exact moment of death from their version of the event.

However, shortly after the execution, another video surfaced and this one (supposedly taken and distributed by one of the guards with a mobile phone) showed everything, including the moment of death. (This is a link to the full unofficial video. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED). This is a particularly graphic example of citizen journalism.

1. Ralph E. Hanson, Mass Communication: Living in a Media World, 3e (Washington, DC: CQ PRess, 2011), 365.

Citizen Journalism in Egypt

Essentially, citizen journalism is journalism coming from a source other than professional journalists [1]. These citizen journalists are best known for utilizing modern technological tools, such as the internet, to disseminate their messages. The recent Egyptian revolution, for instance, is a prime example of citizen journalism in action, and its potentially vital place in society. One of the many things that came to characterize the uprising was the use of social media by revolutionaries to spur their cause. Websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube were all major players. Protests in Tahrir Square could be seen not only from the major news networks, but on YouTube from locals with camera phones. Violent acts of police were recorded and uploaded for the world to see. The Egyptian people wanted their stories and discontent to be heard, and they used the internet to ensure that they were. These Tweets and videos by Egyptian citizen journalists attracted a global audience, gaining them worldwide support.

The role of social media among protesters in the Egyptian revolution is a prime example of just how powerful citizen journalism can be. Videos and tweets by these Egyptian citizen journalists sparked worldwide attention to the discontent amongst many of the Egyptian people. Reports from citizen journalists gave people a source of news that is more personalized, evoking a more sympathetic response. It turned the Egyptian revolution into more than just news reports; the Egyptian people were communicating directly to the world, sharing their experience with us. The ability of these citizen journalists to spark change and international attention was remarkable. It shows that citizen journalism should not be brushed aside or underestimated simply because they are not a formal source of news - it can be quite influential.

[1] Hanson, Ralph E. Mass Communication: Living In A Media World. 3rd Ed. Washington: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 2011.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

LulzSec vs Murdoch

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According to the Hanson glossary: Citizen journalism is journalism created by people other than profession journalists, often distributed over the internet. (pg 605) An example of citizen journalism can be seen in the recent blog updates about the LulzSec "cyber terrorism group" who have successfully hacked systems of conglomerate companies such as Sony and News Corp. Recently, a blogger by the username of Hamada87 published an article about LulzSec's hacking of Rupert Murdoch's tabloid 'the Sun'.
LulzSec hacked The Sun's website and changed the home page cover story to expose a fabricated story about the 'sudden death' of Rupert Murdoch. The fake story suggested that Murdoch died after ingesting large quantities of a chemical called palladium. The aftermath of this event resulted in Murdoch shutting down the website until the company could enable a more effective security system.
Some implications of this event were that people across the country were exposed to how unsecured our data is in government/private hands. A handful of communal hackers were able to break into a best-selling website's database and publish a fake a story about someone as powerful as Rupert Murdoch being found dead. Among many negative connotations, this incident encourages people to doubt how reliable their news sources are.

Hanson, Ralph E. Mass Communication: Living In A Media World. 3rd Ed. Washington: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 2011.

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Lulzsec. Web. 28 July 2011.

Citizen Journalism

Like so many other industries, the growth of the internet has changed the landscape of journalism.

Traditionally, the ability to author media was an exclusive responsibility held primarily by the elite.
The idea that anybody could author a blog that millions of people read was unheard of.

This changed tremendously with the advent of the world wide web in the early 1990s. The world wide web allowed anybody with a computer to have the ability to report to and reach out to a large scale audience.
A new phenomenon of "citizen journalists"; members of the public trying their hand at the journalistic process[1], broke out in massive numbers. Ordinary people were now blogging, recording videos, or even recording pod-casts of their versions of the news to mass audiences.

For the first time, a person who didn't trust the corporate media to relay reliable information was able to find alternative media outlets.

Now, citizen journalists have become many people's main source of news.
For example, Philip Defranco, a youtuber who reports the news, has over 1.7 million subscribers[3]. In comparison, The New York Times had only 100,000 online subscribers as of april 2011[2].

In a pre-internet age, Phlip Defranco would have been a nobody in the world of journalism. However, as many companies are learning; as technology changes, so do industrial mediums. More and more citizen journalists are removing the asterisk and becoming "just journalists".


Citizen Journalism

"Citizen Journalism is when private individuals do essentially what professional reporters do - report information. That information can take many forms, from a podcast editorial to a report about a city council meeting on a blog. It can include text, pictures, audio and video. But it's basically all about communication information of some kind. "- Tony Rogers (1)

Citizen journalism has grown with the help of all the new, immediate technologies that we have today. Technologies like Twitter, Youtube and Facebook allow many people to post or upload posts and pictures tothe internet to be shared with millions of others. Journalists are no longer the main source of our news. Some news organizations even started hiring "Citizen Journalists" to report for them!

An example of this happened this New Years day, when officer Johannes Mehserle shot Oscar Grant, a man who supposedly resisted arrest. There was a train that was stopped right near this scene and a bystander on this train caught the entire incident on his phone. He uploaded it to Youtube instantly. "Within a day, the footage was broadcast online and TV stations across the Bay Area, inciting protests, and featuring heavily in the ongoing manslaughter trial." (2) This video is actually playing a very important role in the investigation of the shooting of Grant. This incident is actually just one of many cases of police brutality that are being investigated. If it wasn't for this video posted by bofoleone and thecaliforniabeat, this officer may have gotten away with what he did. Citizen journalism is helping to bring justice to the world.



1. "Citizen Journalism - What Is Citizen Journalism?" Journalism - Citizen Journalism - Reporting - Writing - Journalism Jobs and Careers. Web. 28 July 2011. alism/a/whatiscitizen.htm>.

2. "The Best Citizen Journalism Of 2009." Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Web. 28 July 2011. .

3. "Cell Phone Video: The Ever-Present Witness | NBC Bay Area." NBC Bay Area - Local News, Weather, Traffic, Entertainment, Events, Breaking News | NBC Bay Area. Web. 28 July 2011. .

Citizen Journalism

Mark Glaser defines citizen journalism as, “people without professional journalism training using the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact-check media on their own or in collaboration with others.”[1] Because of all the new technology we have today, Twitter and Facebook as examples; citizen journalism is becoming more and more common. Glaser explains in his article “Your Guide to Citizen Journalism”, that “The mainstream media reporters and producers are not the exclusive center of knowledge on a subject”[2], sometimes the audience know more jointly then an individual reporter.

A perfect example of citizen journalism would be when Tearah Moore, a soldier from Linden, Michigan, tweeted from Fort Hood when Major Nidal Malik Hasan started his killing spree. She tweeted things like, “[T]hey just brought a CART full of boxes w/transplant parts in them. Not good not good. #fthood”, and, “Maj Malik A Hassan. He shouldn’t have died. He should be in the worst suffering of his life. It’s too fair for him to just die. Bastard!{“ Tearah also took pictures of the injured soldiers from inside the hospital, which some of mainstream media outlets quickly picked up. Reporters were forbidden to enter the base, but thanks to Tearah, and citizen journalism, the world had access to her “minute by minute” reports from the scene of the crime.[3]

Citizen Journalism

On January 15th Pilot Chesley Sullenberger had a dramatic landing on the Hudson river. The first photographic image of this event was taken by a citizen who happened to be there at that moment. "Janis Krums tweeted a picture he took on his cell phone as he ferried over to help the stranded passengers"("The Best Citizen Journalism Of 2009." Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Web. 27 July 2011.). Krums later sold his picture to the AP.
This story is an example citizen journalism. Citizen journalism is the idea of the public playing an active role in receiving new information, analyzing it and sending it out to the public. This allows the media to have a wide range of opinions and stories. The internet gives the public a chance to share their own stories and receive new information from different kinds of people. Janis Krums who is part of the general public was able to be the first one to capture and send out a picture of this dramatic event.

Citizen Journalism

Ralph E. Hanson defines citizen journalism as “[j]ournalism created by people other than professional journalists, often distributed over the Internet.” (Hanson, 365) An example of citizen journalism was when the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was accidentally captured on video camera by Abraham Zapruder. This film was important because it exposed us to an event that we might otherwise have not been able to witness. Citizen journalism helps to maintain democracy in the media by allowing citizens to bypass censorship and increase the range of material the public is exposed to.


“Abraham Zapruder.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 26 June 2011. Web. 27 July 2011.

Assassinationforum. “JFK Assassination Every Zapruder Frame Slowed Down.” YouTube. 19 Aug. 2009. Web. 27 July 2011.

Hanson, Ralph E. Mass Communication: Living In A Media World. Washington: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 2011.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tragedy in Japan

One of the most memorable mediated experiences I’ve had was when Japan has hit by an earthquake and following a tsunami this past March. A magnitude of 9.0 earthquake shook northeast of Japan. Seeing Japan's tragic even made me feel how weak a small we are as humans in front of these natural disasters we have experienced around the world lately that we as humans have no control over. We never expect things like this to happen but it comes and wipes everyone away. When I saw the news broadcast that afternoon I literally thought the world is coming to an end. This was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Hurricane Katrina was nothing compared to the devastating images seen those live broadcast from Japanese news.I felt like things were just getting worse by the day and made me wonder what might happen next. I was a bit afraid something might happen to this side of the world. I remember seeing how the buildings collapsed beneath their eyes and how the ocean wiped everything on land. Thousands of cars were just floating and people were nowhere to be found. It was very sad hearing a girl's story of how she was shopping with her mom and had to meet at a certain location and she never came. My heart was overwhelmed.
When riding the train next morning the image came to my head again. For some reason I was feeling very nostalgic, like something had happened to me or my family and out of nowhere tears were running down my face. I felt as if this tragedy has happened to me. It was something I never felt before. This really caught my attention and I felt like I had some kind of connection with the people from Japan. Later that afternoon there was much attention given to this catastrophic event which made it worse for me. I just hate to see how families and homes vanished and people finding themselves lost in the middle of nowhere. I will always remember this heartbreaking moment. The saddest part about all this is that there is no one in this earth that could have prevented this from happening.

Being able to have an idea of what really happened geographically is important. The media provides information such as how these natural disasters occur and gives us a better understanding of what happened. Now, many people that once didn't know the process of an earthquake and how the plates of the earth may clash against each other can understand and explain to others what happened.The media also made major contribution in helping Japan. From telethons to concerts to sending a text from your phone to donate the media helped spread the word out and tell others.

It Was Just a Boob!

Counterintuitively, the task of selecting my “most memorable mediated experience” was not a short or easy one, but when it came to me this morning, I knew that I finally had it: Janet Jackson’s unfortunate nip “slip” during the halftime of Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. Technically, it wasn’t even the actual event that was so memorable but instead the big hullabaloo that ensued after every mass media outlet in America overexaggerated the importance of the situation.

I’ll admit, I didn’t actually see the event live. I was in the kitchen at the exact moment that my sister, my mother, and my father (who were all in the living room watching the performance) exclaimed in unison at the surprise of Janet’s “naked” boob bouncing around on the TV screen. By the time I ran back in to see what happened, the scene had switched to an aerial shot of the stadium. The fact that we were watching live TV obviously prevented us from rewinding to see it a second time for them, a first for me, shaping my experience of the event. The camera operators controlled what we could see.

I also watched news coverage of the event after the fact. I don’t remember if they showed clips of the incident (this would have been kind of hypocritical, but I’m guessing they did show censored versions) so, to refresh my memory of the event I watched the uncensored video on YouTube

and I have to say that my understanding of it has definitely changed. Before revisiting the story this morning, I had always assumed that it really was an accident and that no one should have been blamed, especially not Janet, who, at the time, seemed like the victim to me. However, upon looking closely at the video, I realized that to say that this event was anything other than a horribly executed (or possibly genius) publicity stunt would be complete malarkey. Justin Timberlake (who is, interestingly, rarely associated with the event as a central component of it) clearly ripped of the cup of Janet’s leather dress thing, deliberately. Also, the way Janet looked around after, as if to say, “Huh? What happened?” was pure performance. Not to mention the fact that she had on one of those nipple cover stickers. Really, why would she have had that on for any reason other than to hide her actual nipple when Justin ripped off her cup, as practiced and planned. This was no accident, though Janet continues to assert that it was.

Though my understanding of the event has changed, only part of my opinion has. I now believe that Janet Jackson deserved all of the backlash that she got. As the co-leader (along with JT and MTV, who produced the show) of the group/mass communication of her performance, She made a decision to do something that would get the public’s attention and it worked. Yet, I do believe that Justin got off scot free, most likely due to the fact that he was a straight male in a situation dealing, however peripherally, with “sex.” Which brings me to my next point: the media’s reaction to this incident was completely out of hand. It was just a boob! Throughout the rest of the performance Justin and Janet were being overtly sexual toward each other, but the thought of a child seeing that type of public sexuality pales in comparison to the thought of a child seeing a boob with a nipple cover on it? There is something so wrong about this picture. I could continue to rant, but I won’t.

I think the type of culture we have in America determined the way the media and many concerned parents and educators reacted to the nip slip. Many of us are raised to associate nudity with sex and sex with bad things aka something that children should not see, which is reflected in our movie rating system, advertising laws, etc. It is interesting to think that people in Canada did not make a big stink about the incident and that people in other places around the world, like Europe, would not see the incident as anything to publicize even nearly as much as it was publicized here.

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yes we can!

[video found on]

There was a euphoric feeling surrounding the 2008 presidential election.
Just as with the anti-war movement in the late 60s and early 70s, the months leading up to the election were not only consequential politically, but it had also had drawn attention to the changing cultural landscape among the youth.

There was a tremendous sense of obligation to both rid the nation of its horrific history of slave labor and civil oppression, and also to move beyond the seemingly ineffective and unpopular conservative administration of George Bush. But perhaps the story behind the election was not just that we elected our first African American president, but more so how Barack Obama effectively used media, and specifically new media, to empower and unite the subculture of the American youth.[7].

The mass media has always had a significant impact on the way politics have evolved within the United States.

In 1920, the presidential election reached American homes via commercial radio for the first time[1]. And in 1960, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Regan forever changed the way we would view our candidates, as the two engaged in the first televised debate in our nation’s history[1] For the first time, a voter no longer had to rely on advertisements or reputation to decode campaign messages from potential candidates. They could now both hear and see how a candidate reacted as he(or she) addressed an issue.

The 2008 campaign trail was revolutionary as well.

While previous advances in mass media were incredibly important, these methods of communication were still very reminiscent of the traditional “one on many” approach. Senders and receivers of media remained relatively static, and as a consequence, the average person had little control over input.
This changed in 2008, as social media outlets such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter became viable campaign weapons[7].

These more personal methods of communication allowed Obama’s personality and charm to shine as he quickly became the #1 most followed person on twitter[2]. He also gathered a huge Facebook following and videos of his speech were replayed on YouTube.

This even extended to crossover of old media to new as CNN hosted the first ever “YouTube debates”,in which questions submitted by viewers through YouTube would be asked to the candidates[6].

YouTube also became a popular source of for voters to express their support for Obama. The musician “Will. I. Am” used Obama’s campaign slogan to create the song “Yes We Can”[3], that reached millions of viewers on YouTube, and a YouTuber named ObamaGirl, created a popular video professing her love to her favorite candidate that became the most popular political video on the site[4].

YouTube was especially integral, because it allowed for free advertising.
Whereas an ad on TV may cost in the millions of dollars to run, YouTube was free and allowed Obama to reach the voters in a more personal way[7] .

On the other hand, the McCain campaign failed to effectively employ the use of social mediums[2]. His presence on twitter and Facebook were relatively non-existent and
republican pollster David Johnson was quoted as saying that his party was “really behind in learning how to maximize(social networking) and using it to their best benefit[2].

John McCain’s inability to relate to the public on a more interpersonal level further exacerbated his reputation as an old,ultra conservative candidate.

The results of this manifested clearly in the exit polls, as Barack Obama came away with 70% of the 18-29 demographic[5].
Barack Obama’s successful use of the mass media connected to the youth and proved to be a major contributor to his victory over John McCain.

Despite being a liberal that had switched over to the “dark side”(I would’ve voted for McCain if I could), I felt the sense of empowerment that Obama had leant me.
Obama’s campaign message had managed to reach me in spite of my disposition toward his politics.Even as I watched John McCain give his concession speech,
I found myself feeling hopeful rather than sad, as I eagerly awaited the prospect of a changing future.








A Memorable Mediated Experience

I first made a Facebook account when I was only a freshman in high school. I never would have thought that one day Facebook would be a medium through which I would received major news updates. In my mind it was basically another MySpace, simply a tool to keep a tab on my friends. News came from newspapers or news shows on the television. However as Facebook developed, and as my friends grew older and more aware of current events, the Facebook newsfeed became a source of information. If something was getting a lot of attention in the media, you could bet it was being posted about all over Facebook. This supports the publicity model mentioned by Hanson - the idea that simply coverage in the media makes a topic important, regardless of what is being said. One particularly memorable event that I first learned about through Facebook was the tsunami in Japan.

It was sometime past midnight on Friday, March 11th. I was browsing the internet, listening to music, talking to people online and of course, checking my Facebook every fifteen minutes or so. During one of these routine checks I began to notice many statuses about Japan filling up my newsfeed. Some posts were rather informative, telling me exactly what time the earthquake hit and the magnitude of the tsunami while others were more emotional, expressing compassion for the Japanese. After getting all the information I could from Facebook I quickly turned to news sites online, like Cnn and Bbc, to confirm what I learned from the constant group communication on Facebook and to find out more about the disaster.

I soon learned exactly how awful the situation was. It was a magnitude 9 earthquake that had set off the tsunami. The waves were tremendous and powerful, destroying everything in its path. Buildings, houses, and cars, nothing really stood a chance up against the 30 foot walls of water. The results of the tsunami were already devastating and it was clear that it had only just begun.

When I read about the disaster on Facebook and various news sites, I was reading numbers and measurements. It felt as if I was taking in data; the size of the waves, the magnitude of the earthquake, the estimated death toll. However, when I turned to video and began watching actual footage of the waves sweeping across Japan I felt more upset by it. A disaster is sad regardless, but nothing can evoke emotions the way a video or a picture can. There was also the fact that the video was a live feed. I was literally sitting in my bed watching the tsunami as it happened. In one way, this made it all the more real, to know that I was watching a tragedy unfold before my very eyes. On the other hand, it was slightly off-putting to watch something so awful happen in the comfort of my own bed, in my own house. I had iTunes open, and episode of Friends playing in a separate tab, and a game of solitaire going on. Watching it in real time made me feel more connected to the tragedy, but doing it at such a distance in such a non-serious way made me feel a little disconnected. It brings to mind Neil Postman's point in the textbook. Postman believes that we take in news in an entertaining form, surrounded by commercials and other trivial things. He believes this desensitizes us to the information we receive, enabling us to think about a tragedy for only a few seconds until turning to another channel or watching a commercial. Watching the tsunami on the internet in the comfort of my bedroom made me see that there is some validity to his point.

Despite the distance between where I live and Japan, and the many differences between our cultures, I was able to sympathize with their plight. As Baron says, culture can divide us, but it can also unite us. No matter where a natural disaster hits, and no matter who it effects, every culture can empathize. We all become a part of the larger human culture and are able to rise above the differences of our subcultures. The media facilitates this coming together of different cultures by showing us that no matter what sub culture we may belong to, we can all be effected by natural disaster.

Looking back, I can still recall the feelings of sympathy for the Japanese and awe of the tsunami. Now I realize how the medium affected the message. Watching videos of the tsunami on the internet gave me a better idea of the true scope of the disaster. I am also now more aware of Facebook’s role in my news acquisition. The internet made my experience of the tsunami more real because of the live footage, more than it would have been had I only read about it.

Sources Used

Hanson, Ralph E. Mass Communication: Living In A Media World. 3rd Ed. Washington: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 2011.

What is Culture?, S. Barron

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Most Memorable Mediated Experience


My most memorable mediated experience occurred last week when I read about the eight year old boy who was kidnapped, and later murdered in Borough Park.

This horrifying news came as a shock to me. I woke up that morning and went to check my phone- like I always do- and saw a numerous amount of Facebook posts about a boy named Leiby Kletzky. They didn’t give much information about why they were all posting about this boy; all it said was our hearts go out to you. As I continued reading it dawned on me that adults put all of these posts up. I found this strange and all the more confusing. Being that I was not getting any significant information from this, I got out of bed and was ready to move on with my day. That was until I saw the New York Post headline that read; “Leiby Kletzky fought for his life against Levi Aron”

In a split second my mind was racing and I was already experiencing intrapersonal communication. I was asking myself “can this be? Is this the same eight-year-old Leiby from Burough Park that is all over Facebook? What actually happened?” I needed to know the answers to these questions so I picked up the paper and read the article as fast as I could. Leiby was lost and trying to find his way home when a thirty-five- year old man saw this and kidnapped him.

The article mentioned how the Members in the Jewish community gathered over $100,000 in reward for the return of the young boy only to discover that they were too late.”- Alicia Ramsay, July 16, 2011. (2) This generous action demonstrates the point made by S. Barron, in his book, What is Culture? In his book, he defines culture as well as proves that it can unite us as well as divide us.(4) This was definitely an example of how the culture was becoming untied through their donating money to try and save this boy. Unfortunately they were too late.

With every day that passed, this story was more prominent in the media. The press used mediums such as newspapers, televisions and the Internet to publicize the story. What started out as one family’s prayers and hopes, which were merely interpersonal communication, ultimately turned into mass communications to most New Yorkers.

The SMCR, Sender Message Channel Receiver model (3) explains how this tragic story reached me (and everyone else who read the paper that morning.) In this case the Senders were the journalists and News Paper companies who issued the newspapers. The message was that a young Hassidic boy, named Leiby was kidnapped, only to be found murdered days later with his body dismembered. The Channel that was used were local newspapers. The Receivers were all those people who picked up a newspaper that morning to read the disturbing article.

Unfortunately this mass communication of the event supposedly led the kidnapper to panic and eventually kill Leiby. After he murdered him, he butchered his body and tried to hide most of it in a red suitcase that was later found by the police.

In this case the media had a big part in shaping my understanding of this event. Being media literate, when I first read it on Facebook I didn’t really care about the story because news that people post on it, aren’t always so reliable. Once I saw it in the newspaper I believed that it was something important and shocking that happened. Leiby's photo on the front page was awful and made my jaw drop. I know that in the article it stated his age but shock didn't hit me at such a high magnitude until I actually saw his face, he just looked so young. I have a younger brother who just turned ten years old, he's only two years older than Leiby. Many disturbing thoughts about this started filling my head at that point. I just couldn't imagine what it would be like if that was my family in the newspaper. The picture made it all so real for me, it made me associate the story with a face. This boy was real, and he was murdered. I don't normally get a connection like that to many other news articles I read. Seeing Leiby's face just made it all so real for me.


1. "Leiby Kletzky Murder." World Of Enjoy | World News , Videos and Movies. Web. 27 July 2011.

2."Brooklyn Most Horrible Crime: Jewish Boy, 8, Murdered and Cut into Pieces »" » Just Another Web Transient. Web. 27 July 2011. .

3. Hanson, Ralph E. Mass Communication: Living in a Media World. Washington, D.C.: CQ, 2008. Print. Page 17

4. What is Culture?, S. Barron

Gary, Indiana

It’s interesting to feel like the last one to know worldwide news. That’s how I felt when the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, died. As most people would agree he was an artist that was able to reach many generations of music listeners and perpetually shape the music world. After several decades in the limelight his death seemed to touch everyone, and seemed to remind people who may have been skeptical of his later years why he was such an important and iconic figure.

My two friends and I were on a road trip across the United States, unaware for two days of Michael Jackson’s death. We were driving through his home state of Indiana when the news finally reached us via an unlikely source, a tabloid magazine. When I bought the copy of OK! Weekly with Michael Jackson on the cover of it and the headline, “Michael's Tragic Death,” I was confused. I found myself questioning the information since I have never thought of tabloids as reputable sources of information, the same feelings Hanson mentions people had with We turned on the radio afterward just to double check and sure enough there was a King of Pop tribute hour.

When we drove through Gary, Indiana, the actual birthplace of Michael Jackson, looking for gas, it was incredibly strange and moving. There was no way you could be in that town, even just driving through, and not feel something; everyone seemed to be grieving for him. It was almost as if the culture of the town had passed away with him. The experience of just being in his birthplace, especially so close to his death, somehow made me feel much more connected to everyone else’s grief.

Since we were stuck in a car together my friends and I had a lot of time to do group communicating on the subject, and what we each thought about the messages we were receiving from the radio, magazine, and newspaper articles. My friends were feeling the same way as me, sad. The media played such a large role in it because even on the road we were constantly getting updates about his burial date and children’s custody. Although it wasn't unexpected for details on his burial to be made public, it felt strange to me to be part of an anonymous audience in regards to burial information, a matter which I generally associate being dealt with by close family members.

Passing through Gary, Indiana and seeing how much his death affected people there I felt guilty for having thought of him as a creepy guy, who was also an amazing musician. I thought about his kids and how they would miss their father. How many peoples lives he had touched with his incredible music and how he changed the music world today. The media was incredibly focused on his children, doctor, and family in the time after. They did an excellent job of helping me sweep away the questionable incidents that occurred during his life and focus on his music career .

fans mourning over his death in his hometown Gary, Indiana

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image found at:

War on Terror(ism)

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My most memorable mediated experience was the decision to invade Afghanistan. President Bush publicly announced the decision on September 14th, 2001. Since news of this informal declaration of war came just a few days after the attacks of 9/11, many Americans supported Bush and spread a surge of nationalism throughout the country. This invasion of Afghanistan will later become known as the "War on Terror(ism)" and one of the most controversial decisions in history.

Around this time, I was shy of nine years old and understood little about the significance this event. Days before this announcement, the attack on 9/11 had already shaken up many American families, including my own. I was watching Friends with my brother when my parents told me that our country was going into war. I was in tears because I initially thought that my brother would get drafted into the army. The following week, my fourth grade class would hold Group Discussions of how these events were affecting our lives.

That year, kids in my class who wore hjiabs or turbans were picked on and treated badly. As Baran addresses in his article, "Muslim Americans had their patriotism challenged simply because of membership in their paritcular bounded culture." (p.4) The bullying affected any child whose skin color was brown, regardless of their religion. At nine years old, the common ignorant idea was that if you fit the Muslim stereotype, you were the 'enemy.' Sadly, this discrimination didn't stop at the playground. It's easy to understand where these misconceptions arrived from, since these children were being exposed to prejudice stories everyday.

The news of war circulated Mass Media. The words “terror” and “war” were printed on practically every newspaper and magazine I could find. Claims of terrorists threats, warnings about anthrax and just about anything else that could create panic were being covered by news networks, radio, and web pages. Any channel I would stumble upon in between Pok√©mon commercials would show videos of soldiers in war, risking their lives in Afghanistan.

My understanding of the situation has changed in retrospect, because now I understand that it is unlikely that my brother will be drafted into the army. Now I realize how great the impact of declaring war had on the country and its significance in the world for almost a decade. I have been able to see firsthand how war can pin the cultures of opposing countries against one another. Today, I am able to form my own opinions about my government and its choices, rather than just believe what I hear. There are many documentaries, books, blogs etc, which combat the decision to go into war and even call Bush one of the worst presidents in history.

An interesting documentary that discusses the War On Terror is Zeitgeist by Peter Joseph. The following is a clip showcasing terrorism in the media.

You can find the full movie here:

Baran, S. What Is Culture?

Hanson, Ralph E. Mass Communication: Living In A Media World. 3rd Ed.Washington: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 2011.

One of My Most Memorable Mediated Experiences

On Friday, April 29th 2011, I woke up to the Royal Wedding, well on my television of course. Thursday night, I recorded the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William on my Tivo box. Since I forgot to shut off my TV that night, in the morning, the channel automatically switched to Channel E! where they were showing live footage of The Wedding. As I opened my eyes, before I could even process what day it was, I was staring at the most magnificent church, Westminister Abbey.

I knew about the Wedding from about a month before, thanks to People and Us. From guessing what type of dress Kate Middleton might wear, to detailed stories about their relationship, I knew them better than I knew some of my friends.

After The Wedding, Kate and William were front cover of most magazines. They showed picture after picture, however, nothing did justice quite like the television. When I watched it live that Friday morning, I felt like I was there. I saw who marched with whom, I saw all the guests in their funky hats, and I saw what really went down between Pippa and Harry. In some ways, watching it on television was better than actually being there! Since I watched it on channel E!, I got all the inside scoop about the fashion, which I’m really into. They talked about the Church and who had married there prior. But what was really interesting was Kate and Williams love story, which E! briefly told us while they were marching down the aisle.

I have to admit, the main reason I recorded the wedding was probably because the whole world was doing it! I knew that the next day it was going to be the talk of the town, and I wanted to be able to get involved in the conversations. In Media, they call that the ritual model (Mass Communication, Ralph E. Hanson). Also, S. Baron says in his article What is Culture, "Culture is learned", and what better place to learn from then the Royal Wedding! Kate Middleton is now the new rolemodel of young women, and what she does and how she acts will definately be mimicked.

When I spoke about the Wedding with my friends the following day, they had a different approach on it. They thought she was underdressed and believed her sister stole the show. I couldn’t imagine where they came up with this idea from, until I read it in a magazine that night. Turns out they didn’t even watch it live on TV, their idea was completely influenced by a magazine. I told them they have a low level of media literacy and to go watch it on TV- but in a nicer way. Another reason I watched the wedding, was because I knew it was going to be a significant day in our history, and I wanted to be a part of that. When I went to London with my grandmother a couple years back, I remember walking into Harrods, a huge department store, and right near the escalator was a giant, magnificent picture of Princess Diana. Everyone who walked by placed a flower or blew a kiss. My grandmother looked at it and sighed. When I looked at her confused, she explained “It was before your day.” I was too young to appreciate Princess Diana, but Kate Middleton’s was not before my day. I’m looking forward to telling my children that I vividly remember her wedding and how I watched it, live, from my bed. The connection my grandma had with Diana, I wanted to have with Kate, and the TV made that achievable.

As strange as it may sound, I owe thanks to the TV. If it weren’t for television, I wouldn’t have been able to experience the Royal Wedding the way I did. The television made it possible for the whole world to take part in a day that will go down in history. People can hear information from news reporters, and people can read rumors in magazines, but with the television, you can become an eyewitness.

My Most Memorable Mediated Experience


My most memorable mediated experience was the extraordinary tradegy of September, 11th, 2001. I was in my sophomore year at Great Neck North High School on Long Island. I remember the day like it was yesterday. All regular school class lessons stopped. A television was brought into every classroom. Students and teachers stared in amazement at the television as we watched the Twin Towers burn and eventually collapse to the ground. I’m not sure exactly which channel we were watching, but I assume it was one of the major news networks. I was sitting in “Select Singers” with my fellow choir members. Everyone was frantic, especially because most of our parents worked in the city, including my mother. There was no way to contact any of our parents. Our cell phones did not work. It seemed as if we were living in a parallel universe. Many students were hysterically crying, imagining the worst.

All levels of communication “or social interaction through messages” were occurring at this time. I experienced intrapersonal communication as I asked myself, “How could this happen?" "Was my mother anywhere near the World Trade Center at the time of the attack?” I also experienced interpersonal communication as I hugged a friend as she cried about what was happening and the possible loss of her father who was a fire fighter in the city. There was group communication as our teacher addressed the classroom and students shared their thoughts with other students. Lastly, we experienced mass communication as we watched the television coverage.

The Sender Message Channel Receiver or transmission model helps us to describe mass communication. In this case, the Sender was the large corporation which controlled the messages that went out through the television channel. There were few senders and many receivers. The message was that Al-Qaeda terrorists high jacked planes that flew straight into the Twin Towers, killing thousands. The Channel was audiovisual media, specifically the television. And the receiver was an anonymous audience of everyone and anyone with a remote control, specifically, in my situation, the students, faculty, and staff of my high school who did not personally know the sender.

Although the media helped to unite the “bounded culture” of New Yorkers, the media also helped to further differentiate and divide our different cultures. I believe that the media further separated Americans and Middle Easterners. The “dominant culture” or “mainstream culture” began to stereotype people from the Arab world, and many people believed that all Middle Easterners were terrorists. Muslim Americans were discriminated against in increasing numbers and Baran discusses the extreme violence towards Arab-Americans that followed the attack.

Stanley Baran explores culture in depth in “What is Culture?” He states that “Culture provides information that helps us make meaningful distinctions about right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate, good and bad, attractive and unattractive, and so on.” (Baran 2) Al Qaeda can be viewed as its own culture that has clear distinct views about what is right and wrong. To the mainstream American, the events of September 11th, were clearly evil and immoral. However, Al Qaeda viewed the situation from a completely different perspective and different beliefs. On the contrary, they believe that the destruction of western culture is in accordance with their religious teachings.

The media definitely shaped this memorable experience for me. The media enabled me to see the events up close, instead of just hearing about what had happened. I would not have felt the intensity of the situation without having viewed the aftermath of the attack on television. Seeing the bodies as they fell from the top floors of the towers is something I will never forget.


Hanson, Ralph E. Mass Communication: Living In A Media World. Washington: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 2011.

S. Baran “What is Culture”

my most memorable mediated experience

Obama adressing the nation (

Our source of information can affect how we perceive that information. A big event that affected me as well as many Americans was the killing of Osama bin Laden. Once the information was given to the mass media people found out about this event within seconds. Different types of media can affect how one experiences an event.

The information was released in the late evening. I happened to be on facebook and saw someone's status update to "Osaba bin Laden is dead!". My first reaction was that this can't be true. What do my friends on facebook know? Was I really going to trust information I received from a friend over the internet? An event like this was so shocking I couldn't believe it until I heard it from our president. I immediately turned on CNN anxiously awaiting president Obama to address the nation and assure us that this indeed was true. It was necessary for the President to be the one to break the news to America. It gave America the confidence to believe that the death of Osama bin Laden was now a fact.

To help the country truly understand this event, many of the news stations showed an animation of exactly how the American navy was able to capture and kill Osama. ( This enriched my mediated experience. It allowed me to visualize and really feel what was going on. The news also showed other peoples reactions to this event, which made me feel like I was sharing this experience with the rest of America. This shared experience is the perfect example of the ritual model of mass communication, which is explained in Mass Communication: Living in a Media World by Ralph Hanson. The ritual model states that the public consumes media messages so that they can feel like they are being a part of a shared experience that brings us together as a people.

Watching the news that night, I was under the impression that all of America was celebrating together, however there was a minority of people with different thoughts and beliefs on this event. Another name for a group who differentiates itself from the larger culture is called a subculture. Baron explains this term in his article called "What is Culture?" This subculture believed that Osama should have been locked up rather than killed.

How information is presented to someone, greatly affects his or her reaction to it. Some people who are media literate need to make sure their source of information is reliable before they can believe something. Other people who are not so media literate will just believe what their friends on facebook say. Where someone is, who they are with and what their source of information is can affect ones mediated experience.